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Does Nicotinamide Riboside (Nad+) Really Work as a Nootropic? The Answer Is Yes and Here Are Some Benefits

Dr. Minesh Amin

The anti aging market will be worth $66.2 Billion by 2023.

But let’s be honest, it’s a big business with few products that actually yield impressive results.

A chemical compound called NAD+ or Niagen is making headlines as the “youth gene” for the number of studies consistently proving its regenerative capabilities. But there are different types, which can make understanding it confusing. Since it’s also referred to as NA, Nam, nicotinamide riboside and even B3 and niacin.

That’s why we’re breaking it down.

Understanding Nicotinamide Riboside and NAD+

NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a chemical found all throughout your body. Its core function is to regulate both catabolic and anabolic processes. These processes manage your body’s ability to manage energy at a cellular level.

If you’re scientifically savvy you might have guessed from its name that NAD+ is the product of organic materials produced by your cells. NAD+ is sort of like baking a cake. If you’re baking a cake, you don’t simply start with a cake. You start with flour, milk and other standalone ingredients that come together to create the cake.

Precursors are the sugar, flour and milk that make the NAD+ cake. The primary precursors to NAD+ are nicotinic acid (niacin) nicotinamide and nicotinamide riboside. Each of these compounds are essentially different forms of vitamin B3.

Even though each precursor creates NAD+, the quality of NAD+ is different depending on the precursor. Like a cake, even though the baseline recipe is pretty standard, the outcome can be wildly different depending on the quality and balance of ingredients you choose to use.

So far, research points to nicotinamide riboside as being the most efficient precursor for generating more NAD+ in the body.

The Potential Benefits of Increased NAD+ Production

So why would someone want to step in between the body’s natural process for NAD+?  Scientists have uncovered from animal testing that higher levels of NAD+ have a range of potential benefits. Primarily with regenerative medicine.

Prolonging Lifespan — Enzymes called sirtuins and PARPs seem to prolong life by repairing damaged DNA. NAD+ has been shown to activate these enzymes in animal studies.

Preventing Brain Disorders — Research indicates that oxidative stress and impaired mitochondrial function are the causes of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. NAD+ is responsible for controlling the protein responsible for protecting the brain against these forces.

Reversing Heart Disease — In two separate animal studies, an increase of NAD+ was found to reverse the aging process in arteries and reduce blood pressure.

Increasing Metabolism Function — One study found that an increase of NAD+ in the bodies of mice increased their metabolic function resulting in weight loss.

Reducing Risk of Cancer — Studies have found a link between the levels of NAD+ in a person’s body and the formation of tumors.

Improving Sleep Cycles — Research shows that NAD+ can change the body’s Circadian clock through chromatin remodeling. This is believed to treat and prevent age-related disease.

Enhancing Muscle Function — Increasing the levels of NAD+ in mice partially reversed aging in skeletal muscle.

Can You Eat Your Way to Higher NAD+ Levels?

If you’re reading this you’ve likely heard of B3 and niacin. Remember that nicotinic acid (niacin) nicotinamide and nicotinamide riboside are all precursers to NAD+. Which are all technically types of B3.

But also remember that not all forms of NAD+ are created equal. To get more nicotinamide riboside through your diet you need to specifically seek out foods proven to contain nicotinamide riboside, not only foods high in B3.

But the key word here is “proven.” There aren’t many food sources that contain high levels of nicotinamide riboside to begin with. But foods like milk and yeast are shown to contain decent levels of the compound.

But before you go binge on cheese and beer, understand how difficult it is to really know the levels of nicotinamide riboside you’re really getting from food sources. Dairy milk, for example, is highly processed and also contains traces of contaminants like pesticides and antibiotics. So it’s not likely that the commercially produced dairy and yeast products available in grocery stores contain enough NAD+ to make a difference or outweigh the health costs of increasing your dairy or yeast intake.

So How Can You Take NAD+?

Unfortunately the compound of NAD+ wouldn’t survive the journey from vitamin to digestion so pure NAD+ is not available as a product. Anyone who claims that is probably selling a questionable product.

The solution is to take a nicotinamide riboside supplement. But read the fine print! Remember that nicotinamide riboside specifically is what is worth your time and money.

Right now Tru Niagen and Elysium are the supplement companies that sell nicotinamide riboside based supplements that are transparent and lead by scientists.
Should You Take Nicotinamide Riboside to Prevent Aging?

NAD+ is an exciting topic because the research is so new, and we’re always learning more about it. So far there are no reports of harmful side effects from taking nicotinamide riboside supplements.

So we say why not! But we will say not to expect magic from taking a supplement. Nicotinamide riboside supplementation requires a long-term commitment to see results. The results will also not be dramatic, in that after one month or six months you’re not going to become a superhuman.

A lot of the changes that will happen in your body will be working at an atomic level and will require medical supervision to full realize.

Good thing we’re all about taking a personalized approach to serving our clients. Not only do we create specialized programs for each individual patient we see we’re one of the few medical practices that offer a comprehensive response to aging. From cosmetic enhancements to lab testing, we tackle aging from every angle.

Want to challenge the aging process? Click here to get in touch with us!

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